The Trade and Investment Section of the Embassy of Ghana in Washington DC, is responsible for promoting Trade & Investments in Ghana. The section provides assistance to companies considering expanding into the Ghanaian market as well as Ghanaian companies looking for potential partners and access to the US market.
Following are some reasons that makes Ghana an attractive place of doing business.
Outstanding in the African community for its economic and political achievements, Ghana is a natural gateway to West Africa. After a decade of structural adjustment reforms, Ghana has established a remarkable record of economic growth, expanding export industries, a growing stock market and rapidly increasing private investment opportunities.
In recent years, Ghana has received a strong endorsement of economic health from the Consultative Group for Ghana, which comprises representatives of 11 developed countries and multilateral institutions, including the International Monetary
Fund, the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
With a stable political climate and an average annual GDP growth rate of nearly 5 percent over the past ten years, Ghana is poised to lead Africa into a new century of stability and economic prosperity.
A Country of Natural Wealth
Ghana is endowed with abundant natural wealth, including vast agricultural, mining and human resources. Along with its growing manufacturing sector, agriculture remains a key sector of the economy. The agrarian sector employs 60 percent of the Ghanaian workforce and makes up almost 44 percent of the country's GDP. Cocoa is the second-largest export, and new exports such as wood products, textiles, jewelry, pineapples, tuna fish and cotton are rapidly diversifying Ghana's agricultural export profile. The country has over 13.6 million hectares of arable land suitable for crops or livestock, and a potential annual production of 655,000 metric tons of fisheries products.
In addition to agricultural wealth, Ghana is also rich in mineral resources. Gold recently replaced cocoa as the country's primary export, with diamonds, aluminum and bauxite accounting for a large part of the country's exports. The mining industry was liberalized in 1987, and strategic investors such as de Beers, Lonrho, and others from the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Britain have already taken advantage of the new business opportunities. Gold output rose to some 1.6 million ounces in 1995, and the Ghana Minerals Commission estimates that the 1996 output will reach 1.84
million ounces. Diamond production rose by an estimated 60 percent in 1994, and a continued rise is expected.
Ghana's industrious, well-educated workforce is one of the country's most valuable resources. There is a strong primary, secondary and higher education infrastructure, and literacy rates average 53 percent, one of the highest in the continent. Industrial growth, led by the mining, food processing and textile sectors, reached about 7 percent by the end of 1995.
According to The Economist magazine, the performance of Ghana's agricultural and mining sectors combined should lead to 5.5 percent GDP growth in 1995, and 5 percent GDP growth in 1996.
Gateway to the Growing West African Region
Ghana is a member the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a regional economic organization comprising a thriving market of 250 million people in West Africa. Formed in 1975, ECOWAS allows for the free movement of goods and people across the borders of its 16 member nations. Since its creation, implementation of the ECOWAS protocol on trade has greatly enhanced intra-regional trade as well as Ghana's status as an economic force in the sub-region.
Ghana's trading access to other African nations is expected to increase significantly in the coming years, especially as African nations move toward implementation of the African Economic Community, established by African heads of state and government in 1991. The AEC will take effect in 2025.
Ghana's New Business Opportunities
Recent amendments to Ghana's 1985 Investment Code have opened up a wide range of new business opportunities. The 1994 Ghana Investment Promotion Act guarantees the freedom for non-Ghanaians to establish and run enterprises in potentially lucrative areas such as natural gas; hydropower projects; fruit and vegetable farming; food processing, including fish canning; production of agro- chemicals; pharmaceuticals; and information technology.
The government's ongoing privatization initiatives also open up a number of sectors for new business partnerships and investment, notably the banking and the state petroleum and telecommunications sectors.
Tourism is an especially strong area for new business projects. Key opportunities in this sector include: tourist accommodation, particularly beach resorts; tourist transportation; catering enterprises; eco-tourism projects; night life and leisure; and tourist servicing enterprises. The Government of Ghana estimates that tourism will generate over $270 million annually after 1996.
Recent Foreign Direct Investment
Recent divestments have encouraged multinationals, medium and small-sized foreign companies as well as Ghanaian nationals residing overseas to expand their business interests in Ghana. In September 1995, Coca-Cola initiated a $19 million investment in a new bottling plant and training facilities, and Heinz recently invested $20 million in a tuna canning operation, through its StarKist subsidiary.
The government is also emphasizing the development of non-traditional export sectors. One American firm, Coleman, has invested $23 million in freshwater fish farming for export. As other recent investments and new investment plans show -- by Caterpillar, Unilever, Guinness, M&W Pump, IBM, Lazare Kaplan, Deloitte & Touche, AT&T, Southwestern Bell, Pryor, McClendon & Counts, Eveready and more -- the time has never been better for doing business in Ghana, Africa's new beacon of economic opportunity.
Advantages for Doing Business in Ghana
- Stable, multi-party government
- Demonstrated commitment to market liberalization
- Ongoing privatizations in key economic sectors
- Expanding stock market
- Competitive labor force
- Ongoing infrastructure development
- Export free zones where goods traded with other countries
are exempt from customs duties and laws
- Immediate access to all markets of the Economic Community
of West African States (ECOWAS)
- Quota-free access to U.S. and European Union markets
- Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
- Official language: English